Updated: Feb 8, 2022
College Football is at the gate. The sport has the fans. The sport has the schools and amazing loyalty. Over the decades the control of the game was a single layer and that was and to some degree still is the NCAA. What has broken ranks is the addition of two key policy moves. The approval of the Transfer Portal (TP) and the added Athlete support of the Name Image and Likeness (NIL). These are two very powerful additions one of which recently hit the scene with respect to the NIL. By providing the Athlete/Student the ability to leave whenever they please they mimic the real world of an employee/employer relationship. All good. But when you add in the complexity of NIL where income for the athletes can be a tremendous boost well that tips the scales of all of the foundational support the NCAA had on its most important puzzle piece, the player.
I have a hard time referring to the players as Student-Athletes anymore. I'm sure the IRS is salivating to jump in with their new clients and start taking their 50% of the newfound fame but that's another topic altogether. I hope these Athlete Students have good sources of advisors or the Schools are providing the right counseling and perhaps curriculum for them to be well prepared and make the right decisions financially.
This is a gate that the College Football world went through and is blazing new trails. It has impacted Early Signing Day and National Signing Day like no other variable. The end of the season drama now has a new victim. The players are opting out more often to prepare themselves for the NFL Combine and the next level of their career. Coaches are diving out prior to bowl games and playoffs. Fans feel jilted at the alter when their beloved coaches are moving around as fast as the athletes are opting out or taking the TP Train to newfound beginnings.
A fascinating situation this year is our beloved Trojans. Their potential star QB-1 of the future from last year, Jaxson Dart, hit the TP trail once the rumors of Caleb Williams began to circulate. Mad? Blame him? It doesn't matter this is the new College Football scene. What seemed like the path to a great jump start for Lincoln Riley and Williams transferring is still up in the air as the family weighs all the NIL potential for this amazing athlete. Everything else was in motion for this Spring Camp to be lightning in a bottle to get the Trojans to a level of a roster that just might be ready to compete at the top of the PAC-12 again or at least the South.
Presumably, in order to play in the spring at USC, you needed to be enrolled by January 28th and begin your courses. Maybe he is maybe he isn't. But the impact to the unknown hits the trail of athletes in the TP and decisions need to happen all over the landscape of the 2022 season regardless of school. Is it a death sentence to USC? Of course not. They are well equipped on the current roster to compete with Miller Moss but who else could they attract to the program if Caleb Williams did sign already? Who is looking to ride the Riley Train to the restarting of the once-proud USC Trojan Football program that has been shed of its former self by the previous head coach who I won't mention by name?